Exposé Online banner

Bob Nell — Soft and Bronze
(Plechmo Music 4000, 2003, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2005-09-01

Soft and Bronze Cover artBob Nell has been playing jazz piano for nearly 30 years (mostly with drummer Brad Edwards) supporting jazz icons such as Ray Brown and David ‘Fathead’ Newman. His latest set of eight pieces features a trio that concentrates on the fine attributes of the small acoustic club combo. The opening track, “808 Express,” is a blast from the past as Nell delivers chops not unlike those jazz heroes he has emulated. Next up is a the bouncing melodic title piece that serves as a plateau for Nell’s nimble ability at the keys and later on giving space to upright bassist, Mike Bisio. Things heat up a bit for “Triumphant Thoroughfare,” which has an alternate theme development from prior songs. “Song for Aria” mines a familiar mode for jazz pianists: nightclub mood soloing with minimal backing and mournful melody. “Steve’s Revenge” in contrast, is a full on assault that pushes the trio into a toe-tapping frenzy and one of the best displays of ensemble interplay on the disc. Two alternate extended takes of “Blues for KB,” which also appears on Nell’s 1991 recording Why I Like Coffee close out the disc. The former take is one punctuated by fiery improvisation while the latter track is a more linear, straight-up performance. Overall Nell and his trio would be welcome in any jazz nightclub across the country to convey their take on the modern jazz trio.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 32, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Bob Nell

Latest news

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Jack o' the Clock and Zero Times Everything, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Pink Floyd - The Division Bell – Eight years since their last studio release, Floyd have come forward with another fine collection of songs, with no real surprises — their timeless style intact — this could just as easily...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues